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Mission College Student’s Software Application Earns National Recognition

A software application to help reduce hospital readmissions has earned a Mission College student third place in a national competition sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.


Kenneth Ng, a student in the health information technology (HIT) program, worked with his internship sponsor to design VoIDSPAN. The system targets patients with a high risk of readmission and automatically keeps in touch with them at set intervals via phone, text messages or the web. Nearly one in five hospital patients must be readmitted within 30 days of being discharged.


“It was eye-opening for me,” said Ng, a software developer. “Before I joined the program, I had no idea what a hospital readmission was.”


Such awareness into the healthcare industry is part of what Ng has gained through the HIT program, a workforce training program funded through a federal grant. Open to both IT and healthcare professionals, the online program prepares students to work in the emerging field of healthcare IT and culminates with a certificate of completion.


For Ng, the program was an opportunity to leverage his 10 years of software development experience into a new industry. His inspiration to do so came two years ago when he got sick during a trip to Asia. After he returned home, Ng discovered his doctors were unable to electronically access medical records from the doctors he saw abroad. Instead, the hundreds of pages of records would need to be faxed.


Not yet finished with the HIT program, Ng is already putting his experience to work. He now works fulltime for his internship sponsor, Dr. Andreas Kogelnik at the Open Medicine Institute in Mountain View, as a senior technology engineer/architect. Such a job – implementing the next generation of electronic medical records – would have been challenging to obtain without the HIT program, he said.


Stories like Ng’s, said Danny Nguyen, Mission College’s dean of math, sciences and workforce development, demonstrate the value of the HIT program for students who take advantage of the resources available to them.


“These opportunities will come to them and Kenneth is an example of that,” said Nguyen.